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This is a rough draft. It's mostly just a dry timeline right now and it leaves out a lot. Please help us flesh it out with real community events, good and bad. What can you add? -- Whitten-1 15:08, 9 February 2016 (EST)


A History of WikiTree


4 Nov 2020: 25 million profiles.


April 2018

Week of 4/1: Surpassed 17 million profiles

March 2018

Week of 3/27: Passed 4 million profiles that have DNA connections

Feburary 2018

Week of 2/19: Passed 500,000 members

January 2018


December 2017

23 December: Crossed the 16,000,000 profile milestone.

August 2017

24 August: Crossed the 15,000,000 profile milestone.

June 2017

1 June: Announced improvements included adding "Unknown" to search parameters.

May 2017

7 May: Crossed the 14,000,000 profile milestone. "Conqueror the Conqueror" mini-project on William the Conqueror begins.

April 2017

22 April - 24 April 2017: The 72 hour Spring Clean-a-Thon took place.

March 2017

The addition, finally, of how-to tutorials for new members.

January 2017

24 January 2017: WikiTree Calendar began, as suggested by Shirley Dalton


November 2016

12 November 2016: Continuing on the success of the first Source-a-Thon, the first Saturday Sourcing Sprint was held on November 12.

June 2016

16 June 2016: MatchBot Monitors Project began, after the addition of variable spelling was introduced for WikiTree searches (which caused an explosion in the number of merges MatchBot was proposing - for both obscure matches that were indeed duplicates & wildly bad matches). See also this G2G discussion. Its members are MatchBot MPs.

January 2016

Introduced long-debated restrictions on who can edit Pre-1500 Profiles. It was back in September 2014 that we added the pre-1700 restrictions. They've helped but they aren't very restrictive since it only takes 10 or 15 minutes to go through the self-certification.


December 2015

Released the most significant round of GEDCOM import changes in terms of formatting profiles since WikiTree first started importing GEDCOMs in 2010. Imports no longer produce the super ugly profiles we're used to seeing.

We also started a big effort to use "tags" to help connect members who share the same genealogical interests. We've come to realize over the past few years that WikiTree is genealogy collaboration. Collaboration = communication + coordination + common goal. Helping members connect with each other helps our mission.

We enlisted Carrie Quackenbush as a WikiTree Leader this month.

November 2015

One of our community's favorite Leaders, Liz Shifflett, returns.

October 2015

A busy month!

We implemented the Family List feature which can show 15 generations of descendants and/or ancestors — up to 29 generations on one page; can include siblings of ancestors; can be sorted by name, birth date, or birth location.

Leigh Murrin and Julie Ricketts became WikiTree Leaders in October. Unfortunately, some of our best, Philip Smith, Lindsay Coleman, Billy Wallace, Keith Baker, Chris Hoyt, Tami Osmer and April Dauenhauer had to step away from their leadership roles.

We added an important Relationship Status option: Non-Biological. This enables adopted families to keep the family connections they prefer, without affecting our growing collection of DNA Features.

We also enabled members to find out if any profiles of family members need profile managers. Why didn't we do this sooner?!

A small but significant thing for the G2G community: We made it possible to link questions to [[Free-Space Profile|free-space profiles].

Queen Elizabeth II was added as one of the "anchor people" for the Connection Finder. Much more popular in the community than Kevin Bacon, who was chosen mostly for the "six degrees of separation" analogy.

August 2015

We added the "100 Degrees of Kevin Bacon" (and two others) feature box to every profile. This caused quite a stir. Many members object to making connections through marriage, or object to gimmicky celebrity features, or to Kevin Bacon in particular. In response, we made the feature box smaller and moved it to the bottom of profiles.

Andrea Powell, Bea Wijma, and Veronica Williams became WikiTree Leaders.

July 2015

The dynamic tree view go live! A tree than you can pan around and zoom in/out on has been long requested.

Another great Leader joins the team: John Beardsley.

The Unknowns Project was started by Shirley Dalton.

June 2015

22 June 2015: John Schmeeckle went Leader Emeritus.

Maryann Hurt became a WikiTree Leader.

This month we made a big technical change for users who view WikiTree on mobile devices. Pages became "responsive" to the width of browser and therefore much more mobile-friendly.

May 2015

We crossed the major milestone of 10,000,000 profiles!

We changed the name of our GEDMatches tool to GEDCompare. With DNA becoming ever more important on WikiTree and many WikiTreers using, it just became too confusing.

This month Keith Hathaway, one of the friendliest "faces" in our community, became a WikiTree Leader.

We lost three valuable Leaders — Jillaine Smith, Cheryl Hammond, and PM Eyestone — after a heated debate in the Leader community about whether to implement the Uncertain Relationship Status.

We also lost two of our favorite Leaders because "real life got in the way of WikiTree": Gail Cox and Debby Black. Gail and Debby are true gems.

April 2015

A great month for recruiting Leaders: Guy Constantineau, Lena Svensson, and Doug Straiton came on board.

March 2015

25 March 2015: Relationship Status: Certainty status on relationships went live (uncertain, confident, confirmed with DNA; non-biological added 28 October 2015)

11 March 2015: Jacky Clark and Shirley Dalton became WikiTree Leaders.

3 March 2015: Quakers Project started.

25 February 2015: Released Compact Family Tree.

Team Members Tami, Eowyn, and Abby at RootsTech 2015.

6 February 2015: Lisa Franklin, Cherly Hammond, Myrtis Bishop, and Patrick Barnum became WikiTree Leaders.

12-14 February 2015: Our fourth RootsTech conference. Mags Gaulden, Abby Glann, Tami Glatz, Michelle Hartley, Eowyn Langholf, Peter Roberts, Kitty Smith, Michael Lee Stills, Karen Tobo and Chris Whitten attend.

3 February 2015: Added Tree & Tools page.

29 January 2015: Daniël Bouman, Kimball Everingham, Dan Thompson, and Matt Pryber went Leader Emeritus.

22 January 2015: Crossed 9,000,000 profiles.

14 January 2015: Added birth dates and locations to titles in links to family members on profiles.

6 January 2015: Debut of Generous Genealogist star badges


December 2014

Philip Smith returned as a WikiTree Leader and started the Louisiana Families Project.

The wonderful Karen Tobo also joined the Leader team.

18 November 2014: New Zealand Project and India Project went live both created by Maria Maxwell

14 November 2014: Alison Andrus and Matt Pryber became a WikiTree Leader.

31 October 2014: Added ads to top of surname index pages and upper-right column of person profiles. Sheri Sturm, Liz Shifflett and Michele Bergin went Leader Emeritus.

20 October 2014: Vicki Norman became a WikiTree Leader.

30 September 2014: United Kingdom Project went live - created by Maria Maxwell and Billy Wallace

12 September 2014: Global Community Outreach Project went live - created by Erin Breen

5 September 2014: Sally Stovall, Michael Stills, and John Atkinson became a WikiTree Leader.

September 2014: Introduced Pre-1700 Self-Certification.

August 21, 2014: Cape of Good Hope - Kaap de Goede Hoop project started by Philip van der Walt

11 August 2014: Paula J, Kay Wilson, GeneJX, and Anne B. became WikiTree Leaders.

August 2014: Erin Breen became a team member: Volunteer Coordinator.

26 July 2014: Cooper Name Study created by Kitty Smith

July 2014: AJ's media blitz for the global family reunion continues, most notably with an appearance on Good Morning America. He also published an article in Mental Floss magazine.

11 July 2014: M. Gaulden, Rick Pierpont, and Robin Lee became WikiTree Leaders.

June 2014: Abby first coins the phrase Don't WikiTree While Angry. In November it would be further discussed and adopted as an official rule. DWWA has since become an important principle in our community.

14 June 2014: AJ's TED talk and People magazine article released.

7 June 2014: Chet Snow and Tom Shaw became WikiTree Leaders.

27 May 2014: Most of new design now in place.

13 May 2014: Vikki Watson and Ed Burke went Leader Emeritus.

10 May 2014: Smith Name Study created by Kitty Smith

8 May 2014: Conversion of pages to new design rolling out.

6 May 2014: Doug Lockwood became a WikiTree Leader.

17 April 2014: Krissi Love, Allen Minix, Alan Butchino, Arik Russell, Tom Bredehoft, and Tom Horner went Leader Emeritus.

29 March 2014: Concept of Top level Projects with sub-Projects introduced with creation of Australia Project (as a top level Project)

25 March 2014: Roger Travis went Leader Emeritus.

15 March 2014: Elyse Doerflinger went Leader Emeritus.

6 March 2014: Magna Carta Project started by April (Dellinger) Dauenhauer

5 March 2014: John Schmeeckle and Chris Hoyt became WikiTree Leaders.

March 2014: Abby Glann became a team member: Leader Liaison.

Kitty, Lianne, AJ, Michelle, Eowyn (100% Free!), Chris, and Tami at RootsTech 2014.

February 2014: The team and a group of leaders attend RootsTech 2014, the big genealogy conference sponsored by FamilySearch in Salt Lake City. In other news, AJ has been on NPR twice and Canadian Public Radio as well.

16 February 2014: Michele Bergin became a WikiTree Leader.

6-8 February 2014: Our third RootsTech conference. Roland Arsenault, Brian Casey, Tami Glatz , Michelle Hartley, Eowyn Langholf, Lianne Lavoie, Kitty Smith and Chris Whitten attend.

2 February 2014: Sunday New York Times op-ed by AJ Jacobs mentions WikiTree.

February 2014: WikiTree Supervisors became WikiTree Leaders.

16 January 2014: First crop of Rangers Project badges awarded.

15 January 2014: Maria Maxwell became a WikiTree Supervisor.

14 January 2014: First Irish Roots Project badge awarded to Billy Wallace by Terry Wright.

13 January 2014: Annette Cormier became a WikiTree Supervisor.


16 December 2013: April Daunhauer became a WikiTree Supervisor.

3 December 2013: Rob Ton and Billy Wallace became WikiTree Supervisors.

26 November 2013: One Name Studies Project started by Lianne Lavoie.

17 November 2013: Terri Rick became a WikiTree Supervisor.

15 November 2013: New home page design.

11 November 2013: Peter Roberts became a WikiTree Supervisor.

6 November 2013: Getting about 3.3 million hits (not visits) through the server per day. An average of 1,200 queries per second.

24 October 2013: Michelle Hartley and Irene Dillon became WikiTree Supervisors.

23 October 2013: Extended DNA table fields.

16 October 2013: Sent e-mail newsletter to 44,000 members.

4 October 2013: 1776 Project started by Kitty Smith.

24 September 2013: Moved where categories appear on profiles. Now in full-sized text directly above bio.

20 September 2013: Nae X. became a WikiTree Supervisor.

17 September 2013: closes and redirects

13 September 2013: Anzacs Project begins (becomes a sub-project of the Australia Project in March 2014).

10 September 2013: CNN and RealSimple magazine mentions.

6 September 2013: Jillaine Smith becomes the first WikiTree member to be awarded the Huguenot Migration badge, awarded by team member Lianne Lavoie. This marks the official start of the Huguenot Migration Project. By January 2016 it had 58 members.

23 August 2013: Fred Remus became a WikiTree Supervisor.

13 August 2013: Eowyn Langholf became a team member: WikiTree Forest Elf.

11 August 2013: Kitty's Library created by Kitty Smith

27 July 2013: Titanic Project started by Lianne Lavoie.

15 July 2013: Tom Horner and Philip Smith became WikiTree Supervisors.

10 July 2013: Maggie N., Kitty Smith, Erin Breen, Kathy Patterson, and Roland Arsenault became WikiTree Supervisors.

25 June 2013: Made DNA test connections live.

17 June 2013: Trib Triboulet became a WikiTree Supervisor.

10 June 2013: New Netherland Settlers project started by Liz Shifflett.

5 June 2013: Canadian History Project started by Lianne Lavoie.

18 May 2013: Paul Bech became a team member: Project Assistant.

10 May 2013: Redesign of surname index pages.

7 May 2013: Design changes, including colors and buttons for widgets and family views.

22 April 2013: 5,000,000 profiles.

16 April 2013: First Scottish Clans Project badge awarded to Sheri Sturm by Lianne Lavoie

2 April 2013: First Family History Photo of the Week.

27 March 2013: Member-awarded stars go live: Family Stars and Community Stars

18 March 2013: Sheri Sturm became a WikiTree Supervisor.

21-23 March 2013: Our second RootsTech conference. Chris, Lianne Lavoie, Michael Gabbard, and Ed Burke represent WikiTree.

8 March 2013: Puritan Great Migration Project started by Lianne Lavoie

7 March 2013: The Wiki Genealogy Feed is introduced enabling members to follow surnames and other tags.

4 March 2013: Bill Jennings became a WikiTree Supervisor.

28 February 2013: Lianne Lavoie became a team member: Princess of Projects.

15 February 2013: Wendy Hampton and Dan Thompson became WikiTree Supervisors.

29 January 2013: Arik Russell and Vikki Watson became WikiTree Supervisors.

25 January 2013: Eugene Quigley became a WikiTree Supervisor.

7 January 2013: Jillaine Smith and Liz Shifflett became WikiTree Supervisors.


21 December 2012: Started running GEDMatches.

4 December 2012: Releases "cousin bait" toolkit pages.

21 November 2012: William Penn and Early Pennsylvania Settlers Project started by Sandi Wiggins.

19 November 2012: WikiTree DNA Project started by Chris Whitten-1.

14 November 2012: Ed Burke, Gail Cox, Debby Black, and Michael Gabbard became WikiTree Supervisors.

1 November 2012: Released MatchBot.

27 September 2012: Reopened registration with Guest Member program.

7 September 2012: U.S. Presidents Project started by Lianne Lavoie.

7 August 2012: Brian Chelton became a WikiTree Supervisor.

26 July 2012: Opened up 100,000 pre-1812 profiles according to recent 200-year-old rule.

26 June 2012: Krissi Love became a WikiTree Supervisor.

13 June 2012: Allen Minix became a WikiTree Supervisor.

7-10 June 2012: Chris, Tami Osmer, Lianne Lavoie, and Elyse Doerflinger represent WikiTree at Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree. We have lots of fun but decide that conferences aren't in WikiTree's budget. We plan to just attend RootsTech in future years.

31 May 2012: Reach 20,000 visits on Tuesday, then 27,000 on Wednesday. It was a lot of Hatfield-McCoy searches after a History Channel series. It dropped soon after.

12 May 2012: Added G2G questions on surname pages.

9–12 May 2012: Chris and Tami Osmer attend NGS Family History Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

10 April 2012: Tom Bredehoft, Keith Baker, and Daniel Bouman became a WikiTree Supervisor.

29 February 2012: Added Genealogist-to-Genealogist (G2G) forum.

16-20 February 2012: Opening up 172K profiles born before 1712 but Level 50 or below.

13 February 2012: Traffic keeps growing. Hit 14,196 visits in one day.

4 February 2012: Our first RootsTech conference. Elyse Doerflinger and Chris Whitten staff the booth and are overwhelmed. We resolve to attend next year with more WikiTreers.

28 January 2012: Lindsay Coleman became a WikiTree Supervisor.

18 January 2012: Removed full surname index from home page.

17 January 2012: Closed off new user registration! WikiTree becomes invitation-only.

12 January 2012: 3,000,000 profiles.

6 January 2012: Acadians Project started by Lianne Lavoie. Mayflower Project started by Becky Syphers.

January 2012: Becky Syphers, Martin Grifhorst, Abby Glann, Lianne Lavoie, Bob Fields, Heather Brown, Paul Bech and Vic Watt became the first group of WikiTree Supervisors.


31 December 2011: Roger Travis became a WikiTree Supervisor.

15 December 2011: Major speed improvement to surname index pages released.

20 November 2011: Chris starts the European Aristocratic Ancestors User Group, WikiTree's first user group, which would grow to become the EuroAristo Project.

13 October 2011: Big round of improvements related to merges and matches.

3 October 2011: Traffic breaks 10,000 visits in one day.

23 July 2011: 2,000,000 profiles.

7 July 2011: Released Relationship Finder.

8 June 2011: In Family Tree Magazine's 101. Also Statesman Journal mention.

4 June 2011: Kim Komando mention in USA Today and Thomas's Internet talk radio program.

25 May 2011: Influx of Indian members. There was a mention in a regional newspaper.

23 May 2011: 1,500,000 profiles.

18 May 2011: Mention in New York Times.

3 May 2011: Added extensive links to emphasize Honor Code.

May 2011: Tami Osmer became a team member.

26 April 2011: Release of thank-you system, merge proposals, bulk Profile Manager changes tool, bio Preview function.

23 March 2011: Release of family tree widgets.

9 March 2011: 1,000,000 profiles!

24 February 2011: Released Special:FindMatches.

22 February 2011: Vastly improved surname pages (now dynamic) and Watchlists.

19 February 2011: Released two new privacy levels: Unlisted and Open.

19 January 2011: Implemented new URLs for Family Tree, Descendant, and Browse Photo pages.

18 January 2011: Introduced public view tabs.


20 December 2010: 700,000 profiles.

1 December 2010: Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers recommends WikiTree to his followers. This is another milestone in WikiTree's connection to the genealogy community.

19 October 2010: 500,000 profiles!

13 October 2010: Elyse Doerflinger became a team member.

22 September 2010: 400,000 profiles.

10 September 2010: Topped 250,000 profiles. The blog post from Dick Eastman helped a lot in reaching this milestone.

9 September 2010: The classic Cyndi's List website added WikiTree to its Wiki page. Dick Eastman reviewed WikiTree on his blog. These were significant steps for introducing WikiTree to the genealogy community.

31 August 2010: 200,000 profiles.

30 March 2010: 100,000 profiles! (Almost 20,000 users)

4 January 2010: Moved e-cards from These e-cards were almost 10 years old before they became part of WikiTree.


November 2009: 50,000 profiles.

16 September 2009: 10,000 registered members.

3 September 2009: Improved our search engine.

2 July 2009: David McDougle becomes the first WikiTree Supervisor. The term "Supervisor" would later be changed to WikiTree Leader.

25 June 2009: Added surname index.

18 June 2009: 20,000 profiles.

18 May 2009: Introduced lock icons for privacy levels.

17 May 2009: Experimented with "The Encyclopedia of You" as a way to describe WikiTree.

9 March 2009: Added Multiple marriages|multiple spouses capability. Before this people could only have one marriage in the database!

21 February 2009: Added birth place and death place fields. Before this there were only date fields. This started a progression of adding more and more traditional database fields that overlay the free-form wiki structure we first expected to use.

13 February 2009: Added user home pages and five-generation family trees.

5 February 2009: New logo: The green and orange "WikiTree" and globe as it is still used today.

23 January 2009: Started using the term "profiles" instead of "Person Pages" and "WikiSpace Pages".

7 January 2009: Sent first Activity Feed e-mail update.


November 2008: First public registrations. This is the about the closest thing to an official opening of WikiTree we can put on a calendar.

30 July 2008: A few dozen people are invited for testing.

1 July 2008: Chris invites his brother and father to test WikiTree.

March 2008: Chris starts collecting ideas for WikiTree through a survey form.


November 2007: "Coming soon" notice posted on

September 2007: Chris begins to work on WikiTree full-time after leaving WikiAnswers/

Early 2007: After his website FAQ Farm (WikiAnswers) becomes part of, Chris starts to explore how to open his family tree website to more people. The first challenge is privacy. How can people share the same family tree yet maintain privacy? The solution will eventually become what are now known as Trusted Lists.

2005: Chris creates a private family website for collecting and organizing his own family history. He also registers the domain with the idea that it might someday be a collaborative family tree.

2004: Chris converts FAQ Farm, his collaborative question and answer site, to use the wiki software developed by Wikipedia.

1996: Chris Whitten meets Jimmy Wales, who would later found Wikipedia. Wales and his partner sublet office space for their first Internet business from the Internet non-profit that Chris was running at the time.

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